Never before had Latin America and the Caribbean expressed themselves with such strength and unity as they did at the so-called Summit of the Americas, which took place last April in Cartagena de Indias, and which once again excluded Cuba as a result of a U.S. imposition.
A few months previously, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) had been founded, precisely in Caracas. "No other institutional event in our hemisphere in the course of the last century has been as transcendental," wrote the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.
We know that CELAC is still to express itself in facts, so that our peoples can "march in close ranks, like silver in the roots of the Andes." But Latin America and the Caribbean have definitely changed, and they are bent on making a greater contribution to the "equilibrium of the world."
However, the threats, dangers and obstacles should not be underestimated.
The United States policy toward our region, whether under Democrat or Republican governments, is essentially the same. The promises made by the current President back in 2009 were not fulfilled. The voracity for our wealth; the imposition of models, cultures, ideas and interference in our internal affairs have never ceased.
Even though there is talk of "smart power," and new and fabulous technologies are being used, a focus on security and military deployment prevail, rather than democratic and mutually beneficial relations among equal and sovereign states.
In the circumstances of a global economic crisis, the depletion of resources and a new distribution of the world, NATO continues to perceive our region as a Euro-Atlantic periphery, in which it is possible to intervene to secure interests, even if they are illegitimate.
The imminent elections in the sister nation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will be decisive for the common destiny of our region. We would like to express to the Venezuelan people and its leader, President Chavez, our full solidarity in the face of destabilizing attempts looming on the horizon.
The governing powers in the United States would be committing a very serious error of unpredictable consequences if they should attempt to reverse by force the social achievements attained by our peoples.
In a discreet and modest way, Cuba has always contributed to the achievement of peace in Colombia; it gave its total support to the confidential exploratory talks that were held during the year in Havana, and it will continue to do so as a guarantor and venue of the upcoming process of dialogue between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
"Our America" will remain mutilated as long as Puerto Rico, a Latin American and Caribbean nation, is not independent, a cause that we fully support.
Today’s world is in no way similar to the one envisaged by those who drafted the United Nations Charter, over the ashes left by the Second World War, when they determined to save our generations from the scourge of war, protect the fundamental rights of human beings and equality among all nations, large and small; and to promote justice, dignity and social progress.
Right now, the overthrow of governments through the use of force and violence is being blatantly encouraged; "regime change" is being imposed from Washington and other NATO member countries’ capitals, and wars of conquest are being waged for the control of natural resources and strategically important areas.
The United States and certain European governments have decided to overthrow the Syrian government, for which they have armed, financed and trained opposition groups. They have even resorted to the use of mercenaries.
Due mainly to firm opposition on the part of Russia and China, it has been impossible to manipulate the Security Council in order to impose the interventionist formula applied in recent warmongering adventures.
Cuba reaffirms the right of the Syrian people to the full exercise of their self-determination and sovereignty without any interference or foreign intervention of any kind. For that, violence, massacres and the acts of terrorism which have taken a high toll in innocent lives must cease. The trafficking of arms and money to help the insurgent groups as well as the shameful manipulation of reality by the media must also come to an end.
It is the duty of the General Assembly to make use of its faculties to promote a peaceful solution to the current situation which is tearing apart that Arab country and prevent a foreign military aggression which will have serious consequences for the entire Middle East region.
The General Assembly should act with resolve and recognize the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Organization, with the boundaries established prior to 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital; and it should do so now, with or without the consent of the Security Council; with or without the United States veto; with or without new peace negotiations.
The global economic crisis, currently reflected with particular harshness in Europe, reflects the inability of governments and institutions to solve a problem which calls for a reconsideration of the basics of the current international economic relations system, which is only useful for plundering underdeveloped countries.
The severe consequences of the crisis in the developed world and the failed policies adopted so far in the attempt to stop it continue to be borne by workers, increasing numbers of the unemployed, immigrants and the poor, whose protest movements are being brutally repressed.
Predictions of a new spiral in the price of foodstuffs as a result of the drought affecting much of Northern America, threaten to make the situation of global food insecurity even more critical.
Environmental destruction has also increased; loss of biodiversity and the natural balance of ecosystems is accelerating, while the intensification of irrational production and consumer patterns, the marginalization of more than a half of the world’s population and the absence of global measures to halt the advance of climate change presuppose an ever-growing risk to the physical integrity of entire nations, particularly the small island states.
In the face of these colossal challenges, we could ask ourselves if anything could ever justify the fact that, 20 years after the end of the so-called Cold War, the military budget has almost doubled to reach the astronomical figure of 1.74 trillion dollars. President Raúl Castro Ruz posed the following questions: "Against which enemies will these weapons be used? Will they be used to eliminate the masses of poor people who can no longer cope with their poverty, or to halt the unstoppable migration of survivors?
Under these circumstances, it is urgent to save the United Nations Organization while subjecting it to profound reforms in order to place it at the service of all equally sovereign states, and remove it from the arbitrariness and double standards of a handful of industrialized and powerful countries.
International law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be resolutely enforced; the key role of the General Assembly should be restored and a democratic, transparent and truly representative Security Council should be re-launched.
The Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was successfully held in Tehran and reaffirmed the Movement’s positions in defense of peace, independence and sovereign equality of states; justice; the right to development; sovereignty over natural resources; general and complete disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament; and the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy was reaffirmed. We have committed our full support to the presidency of the Movement.
On July 31 last, the U.S. Department of State once again included Cuba on a unilateral and arbitrary list of states sponsoring international terrorism.
The real purpose pursued by including Cuba on that spurious list is to fabricate pretexts to increase the persecution of Cuba’s financial transactions and justify the policy of blockade, which has caused invaluable human and economic damages to the value of one trillion dollars, estimated according to the current value of gold.
The United States does not have the slightest moral or political authority to judge Cuba.
It is known that, as a weapon in its anti-Cuba policy, the U.S. government has resorted to state terrorism, which has caused the death of 3, 478 persons and maimed 2,099 of our compatriots. At the same time it is harboring dozens of terrorists, some of whom are living in freedom in that country, while maintaining the long-lasting and inhumane incarceration and cruel and arbitrary retention of five Cuban anti-terrorists in its territory.
Cuba strongly rejects the use of such a sensitive issue as terrorism to pursue political goals and calls upon the United States to cease its lies and end this shameful exercise, which is an outrage against the Cuban people and the international community and discredits the cause of the battle against terrorism.
We reiterate to the United States, approaching its presidential elections, our irrevocable vocation for peace and our interest in moving toward the normalization of relations through dialogue, on an equal footing and with absolute respect for our independence.
With absolute certainty, our people, come what may, "with all and for the well-being of all", will continue advancing down the path they have already chosen until we "conquer all justice."
Thank you very much.